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June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


As sure as the sun would rise, in the morning with Mediterranean Sea as smooth as glass — the purseiner fishing fleets were busy catching and caging the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. Within 100 meters of the activity Patricia Lastra, tuna scientist as well as Gorka Leclercq, underwater videographer documented the purseiners using fishing nets. With an estimated 10,000 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna caught every day the size of these nets and cages are massive.

In the afternoon 20 nautical miles from Malta before changing course and heading to the harbor, we observed two Greek trawlers (Kentavros and Aigaion) towing a tuna cage along with purseiner from Turkey (Akgun Balikcilik 3) with a net in the water. This is highly suspicious activity since Greek fishing boats are not allowed to transfer any tuna per the June 16, 2008 EU Commission for “The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Long Term Recovery Plan”. While we cannot confirm they transferred tuna — given their location and all the activity today — it seems reasonable to assume the boats were working together.

As we were approaching Malta the crew of Oceana enjoyed the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.